It Started With One Oreo

I cried when I saw the number on the scale.  How could that 99 pound girl have morphed into a 180 pound young woman?  I was disgusted with myself, so I decided to have a snack to make myself feel better.  After all, those calories wouldn’t show up on my body for days.

And there it was.  That stinkin’ thinkin’ that started me down the path to 180 pounds…and it all started with one Oreo.

It was 2004.  My baby sister was getting married, and I was to be her maid of honor.  My friends wanted to see my bridesmaid dress, and after I modeled it for them, someone broke out a package of Oreos.  “What am I doing?!” I said as I chomped on that delectable Oreo (seriously, I could eat Oreos for every meal and be completely satisfied!).  “I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into!”

And then the line that would play a big role in my undoing.  “Those calories aren’t going to show up for days!” one friend said.

Karen's wedding 001What he said is absolutely true.  Weight gain happens when the number of calories consumed outweighs the number of calories burned.  The calories of one Oreo wouldn’t cause me to bust out of my dress (that’s me in the purple dress).  But continually consuming more calories than I burn will EVENTUALLY show up as extra padding on my body.

My brain selectively chose to ignore that last bit of truth, and the salve that I used to soothe the guilt of eating those bad-for-me treats was the fact that those calories wouldn’t change the way I looked TODAY.

I promise we’ll get to the stories of how I lost the weight soon, but an important part of my weight loss story is realizing how I got to where I was.  I had to reflect on thoughts and beliefs that led to my behaviors and realize that stinkin’ thinkin’ (those negative thoughts and false beliefs) had to change before my physical self could change.

I’ll share more about other harmful thoughts and beliefs that held me back from health, but if you’re thinking about losing weight, could I challenge you to begin reflecting on how you got to where you are?  Can you identify some stinkin’ thinkin’ that needs to change so you can find  your healthy?



Elusive Health

It’s a new year, the time when many people turn their thoughts and energy towards weight loss and getting healthy.  It’s got me thinking a lot about what health really is.

When I graduated high school eons ago, I was 5’2″ tall and weighed 99 pounds.  I was co-valedictorian (not such a big deal when you know my class was only 23 people), and in my entire school career thus far, the only B I had ever received on a report card was in sixth grade math.  I was known to be trustworthy and never got in trouble.  Seriously, never.

Now, in case you think I’m bragging, I say all that to say most people would’ve looked at me and said, “She’s healthy.”  I was a good student, responsible, dependable, and obviously, not overweight, a sure sign of unhealthiness, right?  But in reality, I was thin because I was embarrassed to eat in front of people.  I was sure if people saw me eating, they would be talking about why that fat girl needed more food.  Alone, though, I would eat as much of anything I could get my hands on to stop the intense huger pains and headaches that accompany food deprivation.  And that obedience and dependability schtick?  A cover up for low self-esteem.  My rationale was that if I did and said what people wanted, they would like me.

So was I healthy?  I guess it depends on your definition of health.  If health means the absence of illness, then, yes, I was healthy.  I was, and still am, rarely physically sick.  If healthy means a thin profile, then I fit the bill of health.  But if health means seeing the truth about yourself, accepting what you can’t change, and learning non-harmful ways to change the things you can, then, no.  I was anything but healthy.

All these years later, I realize I’m still in search of my healthy.  As I’ve been contemplating what being healthy really means, I don’t think I fully know, despite a career in healthcare.  I think healthy involves exercise and good nutrition, for sure.  But health is more than that.  It’s a lifestyle, a way of thinking, a pattern of decision making, a journey of self-awareness, and a spiritual quest to know God that looks a bit differently for everyone.  I’m finding that healthy is more than 30 minutes on the elliptical and 8 glasses of water everyday.  And I’m starting to realize that finding my healthy will be a lifelong process.

What about you?  What does being healthy mean to you?


Taking the Plunge

I honestly never thought I’d write a blog.  But here I am, about to take the plunge (never say never, right?), and I’m scared to death.  I have this thing about failing.  I don’t like it.  And many times I give into that fear and just don’t try.  Then, I live with the regret of, “I wonder what would’ve happened if…?”  I’ve missed out on a lot of fun and adventure by caving to that fear.

Recently I heard someone describe failure as not learning something from the experience.  Ok, so maybe I don’t accomplish what I set out to do (in this case, create a blog that becomes wildly popular and helps tons of people), but the failure is not the lack of accomplishment but the lack of learning something through the experience.  Hmmm…. Paradigm shifts, new perspectives, I’m learning, are a necessary ingredient for a healthy me.

I tend to have excuses of why I shouldn’t try new things:

  1. I’m single; I don’t want to do it alone.
  2. I’m too old.  I’m 40-something now.
  3. I don’t know how.
  4. I might get hurt.
  5. I might not be able to do it.
  6. What will others think?

Logically, I can argue with myself about each excuse.  I have friends that I could invite to join me in my new venture.  I may be 40-something but I’m certainly not decrepit!  Of course, I don’t know how; I’ve never done it before (duh!).  And yes, I might get hurt.  I might get in a car accident, too, but that doesn’t keep me from getting behind the wheel.  I really might not be able to do it, but how will I know unless I try?  And really, what others think about me is none of my business.  So I realize my excuses are lame; yet, I let the fear behind them hold me back.

So why have I decided now is the time to tackle something new like beginning a blog?

  1. I’m single.  I have the time.
  2. Forty is not too old to begin again.
  3. I know nothing about blogging, but I have a story to tell.
  4. If no one likes what I write, that will hurt, but regret doesn’t feel good either.
  5. Who knows if I can do this or not?  I’ll only know by trying.
  6. What others think about me is not nearly so important as what God says about me.

So I’ve diving into the blogoshpere!  This is the story of me, of a life and health transformation through weight loss, facing my fears, and discovering that 40 really isn’t too late to begin again.